Criss Cross Applesauce

Criss Cross Applesauce

I used to come into the classrooms at UCP’s Early Beginnings Academy and I talk a LOT.

“Okay everyone let’s sit down in the circle.”

“Oh you have new shoes – awesome!”

“Ok everyone sit down. Stop pulling her hair. Don’t pick your nose. Come on let’s all sit down!”

This year, I am making a concerted effort to use less spoken directions and more sung directions.

Why? It’s different. It gets the children’s attention. It’s simple, it’s organized, and it’s rhythmic.

“Criss Cross Applesauce” is a song I came up with on the spot for those times when the children’s legs are wiggling in the middle of the circle and they should be “criss-crossed.”

That’s me drumming the guitar! I’ll use the rhythm to organize the children OR I will pat my knees to demonstrate how their legs should be crossed, and usually the children start patting along with me.

The results are noticeable – when I use sung or rhythmically spoken directions, the children seem to stop what they’re doing more quickly, shift their attention to what’s going on in music therapy, and follow the directions to criss cross their legs. Magic? Nope, it’s music!

Now I want to hear from YOU! Do you use sung or spoken directions when working with young children?

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Comments (10)

  • Rachel

    I use this criss-cross song all of the time and kids LOVE it 🙂 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMfhlMdbzlE

  • Carly

    I love it! I’m in the same boat with you as in I need to use more musical ways of transitioning, getting the group’s attention, etc. When I do, I also notice a big change and a quicker response than when I speak it. Thanks for sharing!

    • Amy

      You’re welcome!

  • Tammy

    Hi, I have really been enjoying your blog! I am a general music teacher(who always wanted to be a music therapist) in a small private school and I teach students from PK4 to 6th grade. I love the idea of a Criss-Cross Applesauce song! I use a song that I made up on the spot, also, to get any student age group’s attention – “I am waiting to hear quiet”. I just keep singing the words fairly quietly until everyone can hear them and gets quiet. You are correct in saying that students tend to pay attention more when directions are sung. I also use echo clapping to get large groups quiet. I have used this even with high school students and everyone is usually quiet after 1 or 2 four count patterns. I will try out some other sung directions in the future. Thanks for the inspiration to create some more songs!

    • Amy

      Hi Tammy! Thanks for writing and for reading my blog! The echo clapping idea is great – especially for very large/rowdy groups. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Alyssa

    I have definitely found sung directions to be more effective…I usually only use them when transitioning between activities or passing out/collecting materials…however, I never thought of singing a direction such as this! I am looking forward to trying out this adorable song in my groups next week! I usually have to tell the kids to sit criss cross applesauce about 5-10 times during sessions! Based on my previous success with sung transitions, I’m guessing this one will be just as great! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Amy

      You’re so welcome Alyssa – thanks for sharing your thoughts as well. I also use transition songs for passing out/cleaning up instruments and am now trying to use more sung directions for those other prompts we have to give over and over! I hear the teachers singing them too, which is the coolest thing!


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